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What is al-Qaeda?

In Anne's new Diary, she writes, "Very often we vilify a single person, who stands for everything we hate. We've certainly done this with Osama bin-Laden. While I don't think he's a good guy in any way, I've realized that I don't really understand what his organization is all about. Jason Burke, who has written a new book (which is only available in the U.K. for now) called 'Al- Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror,' says we shouldn't blame ourselves for not spotting al-Qaeda sooner and reminds us that, despite fighting two wars in the Middle East, we really don't know what al-Qaeda is"?or is it something we can recognize right here at home?

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